Autism speaks to everyone

April 27, 2015

st0427-02High school juniors and seniors invest a lot of time doing extra-curricular activities in order to build up an impressive resume for college. As a junior at St. Crean Lutheran High School, I am no exception. I have joined several clubs, created my own club, held fund-raisers, and even volunteered for various events.

My only intentions were to pad my college resume, but something unexpected happened. I met the most incredible group of young kids: children with autism.

A friend had told me about a volunteer group that met with autistic children for six hours every Saturday. The volunteers would teach, do fun projects, cook, and even take the kids on little field trips.

Although I wasn’t thrilled about sacrificing my Saturdays, I convinced myself that I would do it a few times just to have something to write on my resume. Little did I know, this decision would have a profound effect on me.

After a brief orientation on what to expect and how to behave, I was ready for my first day-or so I thought. That Saturday morning, I was waiting for my assigned buddy, whom I will refer to as “Ryan.” I didn’t know what to expect, but when he finally arrived, I was a little thrown back. Ryan made loud noises as he walked around the room.

I greeted him warmly, but there was very little response from him. Throughout the day, I tried my best to get close with him, but had no success. The day went by quickly, and it was exhausting for the both of us.

My first day brought up many questions about autism, and I realized that I knew absolutely nothing about it. So, I decided to do a little bit of research. I can’t say that I have become an expert in any way, but reading about autism made me understand Ryan a little more.

Our second meeting was better, and after several weeks, Ryan and I had developed a very special relationship. He smiles and gives me a big hug every time he sees me. What initially was supposed to be a few weeks of volunteering turned into several months, and I still continue to go every Saturday.

Ryan even inspired me to create a blog about my experiences. Autism spoke to me, and I cannot be more grateful.


st0427-02-1 James Eun
Crean Lutheran High School 11th Grade

One Comment

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